By Mark Poster
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Extra resources for Critical Theory of the Family
55] This opposition of individual-group, deriving in social theory from John Locke, is a misrepresentation of the social system. It incorrectly presupposes that there are some activities which are outside social reality and are the ground for private, asocial property. In fact, Freud cannot imagine a group psychology which does not aim to reform groups on the basis of the norm of individual rationality: The problem [of group psychology] consists in how to procure for the group precisely those features which were characteristic of the individual and which are extinguished in him by the formation of the group.
Marx himself wrote almost nothing on the family. In the 1844 Manuscripts, and again a few years later in the Communist Manifesto, Marx, like Fourier before him, denounced bourgeois marriage as a form of prostitution. With financial considerations uppermost in their minds, middleclass men degraded affairs of sentiment by mixing them with motives of economic gain. Bourgeois writers, for their part, considered Marx and Engels, along with other contemporary communists, as wild men who wanted to abolish the family and substitute for it perversions and promiscuity.
49] Also, he presents liberal, utilitarian moral principles as unquestionable general truths. Human beings "strive after happiness . . " Throughout Freud's social writings, the milieu of the discourse is that of the cosmopolitan bourgeois. Cultural activities are assumed to be man's highest attainments; work is regarded as sublimation, and so on. Although there are many of these liberal assumptions in Freud which limit his positions, he is by no means a liberal apologist of capitalism. html (22 of 31) [11/12/2007 23:08:27] Critical Theory of the Family - Chapter One of his psychoanalytic theory emerge as counter-arguments against liberal positions.